Corbis sues Amazon over digital images

Digital image company Corbis on Monday sued, accusing the online retail giant of offering unauthorized copies of hundreds of its celebrity pictures, including photos of stars such as Meg Ryan and Vin Diesel.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleges that Amazon and at least 15 poster and picture stores violated copyright law by selling the digital images outright or allowing sales to occur through their sites. Corbis is seeking up to $150,000 for each work sold.

"The defendants do not have license or other authority to reproduce, display, distribute, or otherwise copy or use the Corbis-represented images that are the subject of this action," Corbis' lawyers wrote in the complaint. Corbis also accused the retailers of removing copy protection from the images in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Corbis, founded by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in 1989, has amassed the rights to millions of images by, among other things, striking deals with commercial photographers and photo journalists. The company licenses those images to publications, businesses and individuals.

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